Nikole Hannah-Jones, a 1998 University of Notre Dame alumna and an investigative reporter for The New York Times Magazine, was honored Monday with the Pulitzer Prize for commentary.
Hannah-Jones was recognized for her introductory essay to the newspaper’s landmark “1619 Project,” an ongoing and interactive series she created that focuses on the 400th anniversary of when enslaved Africans were first brought to what would become the United States.
The Pulitzer board called her work a “sweeping, deeply reported and personal essay,” and recognized its “prompting public conversation about the nation’s founding and evolution.” New York Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet called the project “one of the most ambitious acts of journalism in years.”
After earning her bachelor’s degree in history and Africana studies from Notre Dame, Hannah-Jones received a master’s degree from the University of North Carolina. After working for the Raleigh News and Observer, Oregonian and ProPublica, she joined The New York Times in 2015.
A recipient in 2017 of a fellowship from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation — commonly known as a “Genius Grant” — Hannah-Jones is the founder of the Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting, an organization that strives to increase and retain reporters and editors of color working in investigative journalism.
Coincidentally, the Pulitzer board issued a special citation Monday to Wells, a trail-blazing African American investigative journalist, educator and civil rights champion in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Journalism’s most prestigious award, the Pulitzer Prizes have been presented annually since 1917 by Columbia University for excellence in journalism, books, music and drama. Notre Dame alumnus and faculty member Carlos Lozada, the nonfiction book critic for the Washington Post, was the recipient last year of the Pulitzer for criticism.